Index urges all European countries to ensure Maltese inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s killing is independent

Memorial to murdered investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia at the foot of the Great Siege Monument in Valletta, Malta

Memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia at the Great Siege Monument in Valletta, Malta. Photo: Ethan Doyle White via Wikimedia Commons

Index on Censorship is deeply concerned that the murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne   remains unsolved two years later. The brutal assassination on 16 October 2017 shocked Europe, and drew widespread condemnation.

Doubts about the investigations conducted by the Maltese authorities led the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, in June this year, to call on Malta to establish an independent public inquiry. However, the recently announced inquiry does not meet the expectations of the assembly.

Index is also critical of the continuation of defamation lawsuits against Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family. At the time of the murder she was subject to more than 40 defamation lawsuits. Approximately 30 of these are continuing against her family, as Maltese law allows plaintiffs to pursue cases against the defendant’s estate.

Joy Hyvarinen, head of advocacy at Index on Censorship, said: “It is appalling that Daphne Caruana Galizia’s brutal murder remains unsolved after two years and that the government of Malta has only now established an inquiry, and that it has done so in a way that raises serious questions about the independence of that inquiry. Index urges other European countries to make it clear to Malta that the inquiry must be independent.”

Philippines: Journalist murdered during car chase after receiving death threats

A Filipino journalist was murdered on 5 January, local reports suggest he was chased down by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle. Christopher Guarin, publisher and editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Tatak News Nationwide, died in front of his wife and two children. Guarin’s colleagues claim that the journalist received an anonymous threat during his radio programme warning Guarin that he would be killed when leaving the station shortly before his murder.

Brazil: Crime reporter murdered

A veteran investigative journalist has been killed in the city of Caico. Francisco Gomes de Medeiros was shot five times outside his house last Monday. One line of police enquiry is focusing on reports the murder could be linked to Medeiros’ investigation of state assembly candidates running a crack-for-votes scheme in the 3 October general election. However a former prison inmate, Joao Francisco dos Santos, has been arrested he claimed to have committed the murder. This is the second high-profile media killing this month following 16 October murder of the owner of a small Sao Paulo newspaper.